The Common Hero: Elevating Expression, Words Transcendent
[Because my mind hasn’t yet adjusted to normal post-writing processes, here’s another school essay in lieu of contemplative anime analysis. It’s a comparison of James Joyce’s Ulysses (of which I’ve only read the first three chapters!) and Homer’s Odyssey, which our entire class read previously. After getting some flak for dissing Dr. Campbell last time, I wax lyrical over his ‘accomplishments’ now. This time, the word limit really is 1000 words, which I’ve once again filled completely…]
In 1949, comparative mythologist Joseph Campbell discovered a pattern in diverse cultural myths: the Hero’s Journey. The Hero’s Journey’s 17 stages encompass many mythological plot points, including Homer’s ancient epic, the Odyssey, and James Joyce’s modernist classic, Ulysses. While neither Telemachus nor Ulysses’s first protagonist Stephen Dedalus display heroic traits, their journeys still exemplify Campbell’s monomyth—a Hero’s Journey without a hero.
The Odyssey starts with Telemachus seeking information of his father. His house is overrun with rowdy suitors, and he feels powerless against them. He commences his own Hero’s Journey to find Odysseus. The main themes in the Telemachia are the suitors’ unwanted domestic occupation and Telemachus’s spiritual growth as he meets Nestor and Menelaus. When he returns, he has become a man.
Ulysses’s first part, also called the Telemachia, chronicles three hours of an ordinary, insignificant Dublin morning in 1904, as Dedalus contemplates life. Dedalus is an ordinary young man living with a ‘friend’ who insults his dead mother and snatches away the house key. The first chapter’s last line is “Usurper”; thus, Dedalus believes his ‘friend’ usurped his home (Joyce 35), like the suitors usurped Telemachus’s. He too embarks on a subdued ‘adventure’, meeting with his anti-Semitic employer, Deasy, and ruminating life along the beach. This parallels Telemachus’s fruitless meeting with Nestor and Proteus’s information about Odysseus. Deasy lectures that “a faithless wife first brought the strangers to our shore here, MacMurrough’s wife and her leman O’Rourke” (Joyce 53). Actually, MacMurrough abducted O’Rourke’s wife, preceding the Norman Invasion of Ireland (Braín 1152.6). Nestor’s reputation for wisdom, yet lack of useful information, corresponds to Deasy’s historical ignorance. Proteus’s shape-shifting represents change, so Joyce’s interior monologue narrative style constantly changes direction, yet illuminates Dedalus’s perspectives on life and regret over not accomplishing childhood dreams.
The Telemachia displays many early monomythic plot points. Telemachus’s Call to Adventure is Odysseus’s disappearance. Athena aids Telemachus by spurring him on; after reaching Pylos, he has Crossed the First Threshold into the unknown, away from the his home’s safety. The Telemachia ends here; later, Telemachus’s Belly of the Whale is the suitors’ ambush, and he Atones with his Father in Eumaeus’s hut. Odysseus’s adventure is more overtly monomythic, but Dedalus corresponds only to Telemachus.
Dedalus’s Call to Adventure is his ‘friend’ demanding drinking money and the house key, paralleling the suitors’ thankless cadgering. A milk woman indirectly spurs his journey by exacerbating Dedalus’s scorn of his ‘friend’; Campbell observes that “the milk woman is the role of Athena, who comes to Telemachus when he is 22 and tells him to go forth, find his father” (Campbell Disc 3). He Crosses the First Threshold after his meeting with the obtuse sexist Deasy, who gives Dedalus thick racist remarks and his salary. Finally, he enters the ‘unknown’: his own mind. To readers, this is shocking: few writers would illustrate natural human thought with natural—illogical—first-person topic transitions. Readers are truly venturing where no man has gone before.
The Odyssey’s monomythic scope is more obvious than Ulysses’s. Telemachus sets out on a voyage, and Odysseus wanders the wine-dark sea for a decade, encountering fantastic creatures. Telemachus is not a hero. He starts weak, irresolute, and naïve, but grows through his journey. However, the monomyth is about the story, not the character: protagonists can even be morally repugnant ‘villains’, their Ultimate Boon perhaps being world destruction, as long as they venture into the unknown and return with an Ultimate Boon. Thus, the Odyssey, as a monomyth, transcends the Hero’s Journey—it is a journey without a hero.
Ulysses lacks the Odyssey’s scope, merely detailing an ordinary Dublin day. However, as the Odyssey transcends the Hero’s Journey, so does Ulysses. Joyce’s writing elevates Dedalus’s thoughts to a godlike level; the sheer breadth and range of his interior monologue’s allusions equate his commonplace musings to an epic. He sees midwives carrying a misbirth, and ponders about an unending chain of navel cords, linking all humanity back to Adam and Eve: “Gaze in your omphalos. Hello. Kinch here. Put me on to Edenville. Aleph, alpha: nought, nought, one” (Joyce 57). This connection to the Genesis broadens his monologue’s temporal scope; a typical day on the beach and Dedalus has already alluded to all human history.
The grandiosity gradually decreases over the chapter. He broods on what could have been in his own past: “Remember your epiphanies on green oval leaves […]? Someone was to read them there after a few thousand years, a mahamanvantara […] You were going to do wonders, what?” (Joyce 61, 63). This shows his disgust with his past’s naïve optimism. Like all epics, the scope is first historical, and now personal. Eventually, reality overtakes his philosophical reverie, and his thoughts deal with the immediate: “My handkerchief. He threw it. I remember. Did I not take it up? […] He laid the dry snot picked from his nostril on a ledge of rock” (Joyce 76). This concludes the chapter, a tour de force from Eden to snot. Although the setting is a walk on the beach, Joyce’s purview transcends its humdrum nature: from molehill to mountain, from the mundane to the sublime.
Both Ulysses and its hypotext, the Odyssey, contain early monomythic plot points. The Odyssey transcends a Hero’s Journey because Telemachus is not heroic, yet his tale is still a monomyth. Ulysses transcends the monomyth because, although Dedalus’s ‘journey into the unknown’ is ordinary, Joyce’s interior monologue transforms his thoughts into a genuine adventure. Thus, both Ulysses and the Odyssey represent the monomyth.
It is only appropriate: Campbell, a Joyce scholar, borrowed the term ‘monomyth’ from Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake. These two works, Ulysses and the Odyssey, stand as a testament to the monomyth’s ubiquity—so many works embody the monomyth that we learn nothing from cross-comparison! Joyce creates an oxymoron—a common hero, shaping the power of literary form into a medium of literary expression. Stephen Dedalus’s Hero’s Journey has no hero, has no journey; Joyce elevates the everyman to create a hero, his words transcendent.
Word Count: 1000 (not including title)
Braín, Tigernach U. The Annals of Tigenach. Edit. Corráin, Donnchadh Ó. Cork: CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts, 1996. Web.
Campbell, Joseph J. On the Wings of Art: Joseph Campbell on the Art of James Joyce. New York: Highbridge Audio, 1995. Audiobook.
Joyce, James A. A. Ulysses. London: Random House, 1992. Print.
Homer. The Odyssey. Trans. Robert Fagles. Toronto: Penguin Books, 1997. Print.
O Hero, Where Art Thou Now?: Odysseus in a Modern Context
[We read the Odyssey in English class, and had to write a variety of assignments (ok, fine, just two) on it. One of these assignments was a comparative essay, in which students could choose their thesis, yet on the criteria sheet, ‘all students must use the same thesis’. The thesis in question was that an old Coen Brothers’ comedy (O Brother, Where Art Thou?), loosely based on the Odyssey, represents Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey.
I thought the Hero’s Journey was just some old man saying that all cultures’ hero stories had a beginning, a middle, and an end. He also claimed that these stories reflected humanity’s ‘collective unconscious’, and that people like to hear stories with beginnings, middles, and ends. Although it seems obvious to us, it is pretty coincidental and influential in studying comparative mythology and evolutionary psychology. Yet, I thought that the Hero’s Journey structure offered no insights into modern ‘heroes’ journeys’.
This jaded me immensely, and like the contrarian hipster I am, I decided to advocate for the Devil. The result is below; formatted, but unedited. If it seems to jump around in places, it’s because I condensed it to one page of 1000 words, ‘for the lulz’. I like it, but I still haven’t gotten my grade back, and I have the feeling that my English teacher won’t like people casting the Hero’s Journey aside…]
In the 1988 PBS documentary The Power of Myth, mythologist Joseph Campbell talks of his theory: a universally archetypal Hero’s Journey originating from the fundamental human psyche. The Hero’s Journey’s plot points, although useful for comparative mythology, are too generic. To differentiate Heroes’ Journeys from regular Journeys, Heroes’ Journeys must star a hero with heroic traits, deeds, and growth.
Ancient poet Homer’s Odyssey is about protagonist Odysseus’s voyage home from the Trojan War. Although contemporary Greeks heroized Odysseus, in a modern/Roman context, he possesses few heroic requirements. The Coen Brothers’ modern film O Brother, Where Art Thou?’s protagonist Ulysses represents Odysseus, and also lacks these requirements.
Neither O Brother, Where Art Thou?, nor its hypotext, the Odyssey, represent the Hero’s Journey.
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
Remember when Whiners.pro commented on my horrible poetry? Don’t worry, I’m not going to torture you guys with any more of that. Instead, have something worse: pretentious poetic ‘analysis’. It’s analysis in the loosest sense since it’s more an exercise of elongation (an exercise beneficial to many organs, specifically that of the e-peen). Here, I’ll spoil you in advance: all I talk about in this essay is that people feel differently about poetry when they’re angry or sad. Or happy. Or dead. Or mushyrulez. Or mushysuckz. Hey, it’s I Say (read: essay) Wednesday, if az can post a bad school essay I’m entitled to post a bad school essay too
Seeing Seattle’s Seas
In a pitiful attempt to introduce new scheduled posts à la Musical Mondays, it’s time to pitifully attempt to schedule new introduction posts with a new tag: Vendredis de Vacances! Which means ‘Fridays of Vacation’ in French, which I had to make in french to keep its alliterative qualities, for no weekday begins with a ‘V’. Anyhow, these posts will have me talk about my ~marvelous adventures~ in being an overbearing first-world snob and wasting money on frivolous tours.
So. Yep. Seattle. Again.
It’s a vacation post. Expect pretty pictures. Prepare for letdown. (HINT: The link in the above paragraph actually contains PRETTY PICTURES!!) Death of my life, it’s my character to only take ugly pictures
May the Fourth Be With You
Yes, I know. The pun doesn’t even make sense, because y’know, it’s actually May 6th right now and I’m lying to you guys about this post date. But guess what, O-New TRANSCENDS time and space, and I can post bad puns ANYWHERE, ANYTIME I want to. DEAL WITH IT
In this post which is not about anime nor manga and is instead about the life of the most boring person to ever walk the earth, I will talk about:
- May the Fourth
- How I’ve Only Watched the First Episode of Star Wars
- Dropbox Contests
- Cinco de Mayo
- Birthday Presents
- How I’m Not a Nerd Because I Don’t Play Video Games
- How I Learned to Love the Aniblog Tourney
- Flower Pictures
- Your Face
- Outdoor Track Meets
- Your Mother’s Face
Rest assured, I will touch upon every single one of those topics, and in that order!!
What are Little Women Made Of?
Before you accuse me of depraved intentions, no, this is not a post dissecting the many features of the female form. Instead, it is a post about Hourou Musuko, femininity, masculinity, and gender roles in a society where a boy is not a boy and a girl is not a girl. Except when they are, of course. Now, you know that I can’t tackle serious issues like this, so I hope you guys will comment and actually discuss, y’know, real stuff, and not the shit I put into my posts. My newfound popularity (?) after a spectacular loss to Shameful Otaku Secret ought to promote this discussion. OUGHT TO.
Pre-International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme *~Part Two~*
So, following the wise words of a wise man, I have accepted Churchill’s request for me to join their program.
Here, in an attempt to make this post seem at least somewhat interesting, I shall insert an obligatory comment about YouTube’s new changes which nobody noticed because YouTube changes like, once every week.
[Obligatory comment about YouTube’s new changes]
In entirely unrelated news, whoops, sorry, I guess I’m going to be writing a lot of filler posts now! School’s catching up on me after I decided to, oh, do no homework over the Spring Break. Wait wait wait, I can explain myself! I wasn’t assigned any homework over the Break. Yeah, I don’t even know why I’m saying this anymore, just, just, go away
Pre-International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme
Well, I’ve been accepted into Sir Winston Churchill Secondary’s Pre-International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme.
On an unrelated note, do listen to my transcription of Gosick’s first OP, Destin Histoire! I think it’s quite nice. Here’s an embedded YouTube video:
A Filler Post 23
WAIT! It’s not really a filler post! In this filler post, I will talk about MANY THINGS.
1. I got accepted for the Pre-International Baccalaureate program, but I’m planning on refusing their offer, after many hours of careful thought. Obviously, my parents are opposed to this, but I am about 34% confident they’ll understand. The IB program’s a great idea with a horrible execution – although I haven’t witnessed it first-hand, second-hand accounts from both IB students, IB teachers, and IB graduates tell me that much of what they do in IB is homework for the sake of homework. The ultimate goal of the program is simple enough – to get into a world-renowned university – but as long as I can get a university degree, isn’t that fine?! I’m going to forge my OWN PATH forward and NOT RELY ON OTHERS in my quest to become a
homeless person begging for food in the freezing Vancouver streets successful guy. I’M NOT AFRAID OF ANYTHING ANYMO-wait mom, wait, don’t call my Socials teacher and ask him about my Socials mark, please!!
2. In French class, compulsive studier friend bemoans his 91%, second place in the class, wondering who could’ve snatched that elusive first place. Walking calmly to the mark list, I happen upon my name – 92.5%! Not bad. Scanning up and down the sheet, I realize…
…wait a minute, did I just get the highest mark in our grade?! HAHAHAHAHA ABSOLUTEZERO255 YOUR REIGN OF TERROR ENDS TODAY, BECAUSE I HAVE FINALLY BEAT YOU IN FRENCH oh Madoka I sound like an IB student now… *horrified face*
(The funny thing is that you guys know I spend 90% of my time writing these god-awful posts and watching horrible, terrible Japanese cartoons all day long, yet still…)
3. Rewritten posts! Yeah, you guys have probably noticed the Black Rock Shooter Episode 6 post I pinned up to the front page for a while now, but yep, do read that. Furthermore, I’ve updated and finally finished my Winter 2012 First Impressions (Part One) after the thirty-eighth time in one week. Yes, I am making this number up. Other than those, I’ve got another post up in the works on Mudazumo Naki Kaikaku 56, and really, not much else is going on! I have the most boring life.
P.S. Wow, shit bro, someone’s reading a hella posts on this site. 40 views every hour for the past three hours! Whoever’s doing this, leave a comment so that I can, like, uh… acknowledge your… reading of this blog, I guess. :x
O-NEC 3: Science Fair
Well, as (hopefully) all of you know, I’m getting HELLA STRESSED about my science fair project on EPISTEMOLOGY (the study of knowledge), which is due tomorrow. Last year, I got 25% on my science fair project, because I didn’t write a report and didn’t make a backboard. My science fair project was ‘a drainage system’, which I (read: my parents) made by gluing two cans together and putting a grater on one the night before the day of the fair. I got 20% of that 25% for ‘participation in the science fair’, and 5% as a pity mark, probably. Anyways, even though last year’s science fair was worth 25% of my second term mark, somehow, I got 86% in science that term?? I would have to have gotten ~106.3% on the rest of my science to have gotten that mark, which I obviously, uh, didn’t…
I suspect trickery.
Anyhow, being the procrastinator that I am (and because, y’know, I post long posts on this stupid, stupid blog), I didn’t do any work on my science fair at all during the past five-day-long weekend, until last night. Here’s what happened…
Students’ Strike! (With More Points Than a Students’ Spare)
I guess these students can really SPARE some time to STRIKE, because that’s what they’re doing in this stereotypical rainy Vancouver afternoon.
Want to know what I’m talking about? CBC has an article here. Really, just search up ‘British Columbia student walkout’ and you’ll find hundreds of articles on it. However, after my five minutes of sleuthing, CBC’s article seems to be the most unbiased.
As a student in the BC public school system that has witnessed th-oh fuck I can’t type formally, here, let’s inject some much-needed CAPITALISM
I am a STUDENT in BC. Many of my fellow students WALKED OUT of school TODAY at 2:00, two hours before THIS POST was posted. Unfortunately, I did not, even though I just sat around and did NOTHING in my final block, and I would’ve been more productive SKIPPING school and WRITING this post at HOME instead. However, I did not SKIP school, and neither did I go to the PROTEST.
Because I’ve done my RESEARCH, and I don’t BELIEVE in this protest.
What is the protest saying?
The ORGANIZERS say it’s to encourage mutual RESPECT between the government and the TEACHERS. Yet, that’s not what the STUDENTS are thinking. They’re thinking that it’s to promote EDUCATION by paying teachers MORE and easing class composition ISSUES. That’s not the point of THIS protest; that’s the point of the TEACHERS’ protest.
We’re already PAST the point of bargaining. Teachers are striking to make a POINT, not because they actually BELIEVE that the government will give them a pay raise this year. No, everybody (except the STUDENTS) know that the strike is going to FADE AWAY, the BCTF’s going to accept NET-ZERO, and not even government’s Bill 22 (which will STRIP teachers of their RIGHT to STRIKE) will pass. In effect, it’ll end in an IMPASSE, with both parties WARILY agreeing to a contract that NOBODY WANTS.
And nothing can change this, anymore. Not even a PROTEST. My English teacher once said that protesting is useless; the important part is creating a SOLUTION. Yet, currently, she’s PROTESTING, and her solution? “Give us more money!”
Towards the actual issue, I’m AMBIVALENT. Both sides have COHERENT arguments and UNDERSTANDABLE reasons for what they’re doing. Yet, neither side is willing to RESPECT the other side. I cannot approve of EITHER. You guys know I’m telling the truth, because I always tell the truth on O-New. Besides, we’re a pretty OPINIONATED blog, and we’re NOT AFRAID to show that we HATE J.C. STAFF, a position that has alienated me from FLARE, that other blogger on O-New who never blogs. So, we have no reason to HIDE our opinions, and when we SAY we’re neutral, we MEAN that I’m neutral. Yes, I’m too lazy to replace all the ‘we’s in those sentences with ‘I’s. Maybe you can help me do that, and be my ears and ‘I’s. Ha ha ha.
At least, the teachers, by striking for three days from Monday to Wednesday, leave me with an effective five-day-weekend, extending my science fair project (which was originally due Monday) that I haven’t started’s deadline by five days. Furthermore, after a final Thursday and Friday of school next week, it’ll be a two-week-long Spring Break… =3=
In summary: I don’t have a better POST to POST today. This alliteration should sum things up pretty CONCISELY:
Currently, crazy Canadian countrymen cannot co-operatively compromise.
Steins;Gate: Boukan no Rebellion 7
So, I was just in class, chillin’ out maxin’ relaxin’ all cool, and all doing some homework in the computer lab, (which is actually not in class, so I wasn’t really in class; I was in the computer lab), when a singular guy, who was up to no good, that PORTENTOUS (I meant to say ‘portly’ but that would be insulting, seeing as he’s not actually broad in girth) individual entered the lab with a certain PORTENTOUS (I meant to say ‘portable’ but that would not make sense, seeing as he’s not actually a makeshift schoolhouse) demeanour that simply PORTENTIFIED (I meant to say ‘portrayed’ but that would make sense, seeing as ‘portentified’s not actually a word) his PERSONALITY (I meant to say ‘portentousness’ but that would be redundant, seeing as I repeated ‘portentous’ so many times).
Anyways, he walked in, signed in to his account on his FANCY LIE-NO-EKS box and opened up Google Chrome.
Lo and behold! What was that pinned tab in the top-left corner of his screen?
By Madoka! It was STEINS;GATE: BOUKAN NO REBELLION.
…and it was on MangaFox. Damn right, the MangaFox that just took off all of its Shounen Jump series (a good thing, seeing as, y’know, that’s ILLEGAL STUFF, though if Batoto takes them down then… well, it’d be even better because fuck, I HATE Bleach). The MangaFox with that fat rich douchebag that profiteers from illegally uploading illegally scanlated illegal manga, who doesn’t give any money to the original creators of the manga, the original licensers of the manga, the American licensers of the manga, the American translators of the manga, the illegal translators of the manga, the official translators of the manga, the fan translators of the manga, and really anybody else at all.
My respect level for this portentous individual has dwindled to merely nine-tenths of its former level.
P.S. Well, I do hope he doesn’t read this post… more coming up after the <more> tag.
2012 Winter Anime First Impressions Part Two
Are you ready for a pun? Yes, you are.
See that sunset? Yes, you do.
When does the sun set? In the evening.
What time is the evening? Very late.
So. What’s this enormously late post going to be about?
The title says it’s going to be about ‘2012 Winter Anime First Impressions Part Two’. OK, so what does that mean? It means that this post is going to be about my first impressions of the anime airing in the winter of 2012. And this is part two.
Whereas part one’s shows all sucked, part two’s shows… well, half of them suck. The other half are decent. And then there’s one awesome show. But it’d be too disjointed if I just hopped around from one anime to another in this post, without any main thread in between. So this post is going to be about anime, and first impressions, and 2012 Winter. But it’s also going to be about Anime Club. That’s right, Anime Club.
So now you know what this post is going to be about.
So I’m back from vacation and heading off to school (tomorrow’s the first day of school again!), and here’s a quick post. Mind, this being published half a month after the previous ST&RS post was because of (translator? author? Jump taking a break?) delays, not because I’m an unpunctual person! You know that I’m always at the time of my top! Or something.
With the past couple chapters focusing on Mikura being emo instead of, y’know, SPACE, I was just getting ready to drop this manga when SUDDENLY, SPACE! Imagine my surprise:
It’s like this, but school’s over for the Winter Holidays (capitalized because you can’t have Christmas without capitalism).
Here’s my 2011 Fall Anime Second Thoughts post, finally finished after three-quarters of ten-thousand words of effort. totally not worth it
Here’s O-REW 7: Not Always Right. For those who’ve forgotten/don’t care about what an O-REW is, it’s basically when I o-REVIEW (get it, ahahahaha so funny) a site so that I can put it in my Links page. Yes, I actually have one.
Both of these articles were not finished on the dates they were published, but now they are! So read them! I’ll probably start posting two posts a day during this break, because I really need to catch up with all the posts that I didn’t post.
Exciting CHESS BATTLE commentary after the break.
With a huff and a puff they blew up the stuff in the house that was tough and they started to lust for the pigs weren’t enough to feed their disgust with the lack of food.
Going, Going, Gone: Back to School
Now that I’m back from vacation (I’d add a link but I can’t as I haven’t written that post yet! Instead, I’ll add a link to a post I wrote about my /other/ vacation way back in May, when I went to China and fired all my writers for not writer-ing.), it’s time to go back to school!
Obligatory July the Second Post
AX: FUNimation has recently acquired Steindo;Gate…
[insert timely photo here]
(It’s not about this.)
SCHOOL IS OVER, DEAL WITH IT BITCHES
ALSO LOOK MY TAG LIST IS LONGER THAN MY POST